DVD: Here to Stay?
DVDs have changed the movie world. More durable and convenient than big, clunky mechanical VHS and Betamax videocassettes, more affordable than laserdiscs, more information-rich than video CDs, DVDs are much more collectable than previous technologies and can even be rented via mail through services like Netflix.
It's hard to believe only a few years ago industry experts were predicting the DVD would never catch on. Now, predictably, some pundits are already predicting its demise.
A recent Reuters article warned that the DVD might be supplanted by other technologies, including recording technologies such as PVRs (personal video recorders) and DVRs (digital video recorders), and cable-based delivery systems such as VoD (Video on Demand) and PPV (pay per view).
But if you've finally splurged on a DVD player or have some real money invested in a DVD collection, don't fret. The DVD isn't going anywhere. One reason is “extras” such as commentary tracks and deleted scenes. DVDs have created a market of film geeks; viewers want that value-added content that cable-based and recording technologies won't provide.
Even when some new technology eventually comes along to eclipse the DVD, chances are it will look a lot like DVDs and that the new players will continue to play our old DVDs. After all, our DVD players today can still play video CDs — and video CDs were never remotely as widespread as DVDs are today. Backwards compatibility is sure to be an important selling point in whatever comes next.
So if you haven't already, go ahead and buy The Song of Bernadette or Casablanca on DVD. You won't be sorry. — SDG
- September 5-11, 2004